“I needed to stop isolating myself and begin to help others. I want to help runaways.” Barbara Amaya
Barbara Amaya knows what it is like to have been abused to the point of having no self-esteem, living a life of fear and hiddenness. She always thought that something was wrong with her, but she had no way to express it. Currently, she is finding her voice and telling her story about being a sex trafficking victim and now survivor. After 40 years of shame and silence, she has come forward to share her history just in the last few weeks. She applied to work with a DC non-profit, Standupforkids.org, and was asked to speak at their group. She has started a blog about her life, and has been featured on a few news stories. Currently, Barbara is writing a book about her life called, Girls Guide to Survival: Life Lessons from the Street.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is still Barbara’s nemesis. Flashbacks of the violence and sexual degradation haunt her, and memories can pop up unbidden at any moment. Writing and speaking engagements about her past can stir up nightmares. She is hyper-vigilant, but feels content in life. Her abuse is part of her story, and she knows that she would not be alive now if not for God looking out for her.
So many years of silence and struggle with her identity have given Barbara a heart for others with similar experiences. She wants to set up a forum on her website for survivors who want to talk. Some already reach out to her through email. She encourages others to connect and talk, to look at strengths that have been gained through the circumstances. Even though it has taken decades for her to get to this point, she wants others to be set free.
The biggest goal for Barbara Amaya now is to finish her book and get the story out. She wants to help others and know that she is making a difference. Estimates of children being trafficked number in the hundreds of thousands annually. The damage they suffer is enormous physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Survivors who have come through the process and restructured their lives are invaluable to those trying to break free of the bondage of forced prostitution. Barbara Amaya is ready to be part of the healing process for others.
“A part of me was untouched inside, despite all the beatings, shootings, stabbings and rapes. It has stayed pure. It has to be God. All those nights, I was kept alive and safe. I am very grateful and I feel a calling to tell the story.”
Barbara can be contacted through her website, Barbaraamaya.com .
Next: Child sex trafficking in the US: 40 year comparison of pimps and victims
Read the rest of Barbara’s story:
Childhood sexual abuse made Barbara vulnerable to sex trafficking ploys
The aftermath of sex trafficking: Dealing with the pain and shame
Child sex trafficking in the US: 40 year comparison of pimps and victims
Barbara can be contacted through her website: barbaraamaya.com
Filed under: Abolitionist heroes, fighters and healers | Tagged: Barbara Amaya, child sex trafficking, Getting out of prostitution, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sex trafficking effects, Sex trafficking survivors and healing |